The breeze from the Atlantic makes these grapes have microparticles of salt, which gives freshness and brightness to a wine that is optimistic itself, since albariño grapes are Galicia’s gold and joy.
It is an aromatic wine, but without stridencies. The winemaker’s Riojan hand is noticeable, and it is one of the serious wines of this kind.
There are fruity hints characteristic of the variety, that cocktail of pineapple, mango, melon, quince and some nuances of dry grass which can be found in few albariños, even fewer in the O Rosal sub-area, the warmest and sweetest in Galicia, but its main characteristic is that it is dry, serious, with personality.
I think that Julio Sáenz’s hand can also be noticed in the vine growing, since this is one of the very few wineries that use 100% grapes from their own vineyards, which allows winemaking to start from the very vineyard.
Chili con carne
This may sound like food for ragged Texan rail workers, but I will not possibly forget the chilli con carne that used to be cooked in a well-known Californian restaurant in Madrid, even though I suspect it was not totally hand-made.
Don’t judge for that canned rubbish that can be found in the market. That would be like turning down meat ravioli for having eaten lots of cans when you were at university. A good chilli con carne is a delicious dish, heavy and filling but very tasty, especially when prepared carefully as we indicate in the recipes chapter.
Americans eat it even for breakfast, which I find vulgar although I doubt if someone dares to do so at 40ºC in those latitudes, but don’t despise it in winter, strange as it may be to eat Tex-Mex at a ski resort.
The pairing was easy this time, because it was a burning dish that called for a refreshing white wine, with marked fruity tones and an acidity structure capable of withstanding the burning heat from chili peppers.
Albariño grapes usually have these virtues, so we chose this variety without doubt. Obviously not all wines from Rías Baixas are the same at all, and we needed a fruity but not irrelevant one, so we bet for one with Riojan surnames, since in that region they know how to vertebrate their wines –Julio Sáenz was born in Salamanca but he studied oenology in La Rioja University and joined the winery La Rioja Alta in 1996, so he is a Riojan. The result is so delicious that it should be imposed in all Tex-Mex restaurants; it changes the perspective of the dish, turning it into something really exquisite.